Between work and study, kids and family commitments, lives are busy, and it can be hard to find time to get away and relax. A common misconception many people have is that to get away you have to spend a day in the car, driving for hours but this is not the case. We’ve put together a list of our favourite destinations within two hours of each capital city for your next weekend escape.
Adelaide to Rapid Bay (1.5 hours)
Nestled in between cliffs, the long, sandy beach of Rapid Bay is the perfect spot for a quick getaway. Only an hour and a half from the city, Rapid Bay is located on the Fleurieu Peninsula amongst a series of quaint towns and on the way to Kangaroo Island. With a usually calm beach it’s the perfect location for relaxing on the shore, exploring the caves, fishing, snorkelling, and diving. With not much more in the bay than a campground, a few houses, and a tiny school, it’s the ideal location for getting out of the city.
With no designated sites in the campground, it does pay to book but on a quiet weekend you are likely to get a spot easily. For holiday periods and public holidays, booking is essential. One thing to note is that while there are toilets at the campground, there are no showers. There is also no power or clean drinking water available, so you’ll have to be fully prepared. This means that if you want to charge your devices, you’ll need an off-grid power solution.
For more information on Rapid Bay check out the SA Tourism website.
Melbourne to Venus Bay (2 hours)
Another beach getaway, this time only two hours out of Melbourne, Venus Bay is the quintessential beach town. With a permanent population of about 500 people, it can get busy over the holiday periods though with almost endless stretches of beach, there’s enough sand to go around. If fishing and surfing are up your alley, Venus Bay is the perfect location for both, with the calm waters of Anderson Inlet perfect for boating and fishing, and patrolled surf beaches in summer. There are also walking and cycling tracks along the coast and through the town.
Accommodation in Venus Bay is varied with holiday houses, resorts, motels, and B&B options as well as camping. The Venus Bay Caravan park offers both powered and unpowered sites, with BBQ areas, bathroom facilities and easy access to the rest of the bay. If you’re planning to tow your caravan or camper trailer, you’ll need a reliable electric brake controller to get you there and back
To learn more about Venus Bay and the surrounding Gippsland area check out the Visit Prom Country website.
Sydney to Watagans National Park (1.5 hours)
On the central coast of NSW, an hour and a half from Sydney, Watagans is the perfect spot if you want to get your rig dirty. A mixture of state forest and national park areas, the Watagans has hundreds of both long and short tracks to test your 4WDing skills. There’s rock climbing, muddy holes, and everything in between. It pays to know your vehicle and 4x4 skills before setting out to Watagans as you don’t want to risk damaging the track or the vehicle.
Camping is the way to go when you travel to the Watagans National Park. There are several campgrounds in both the state forest and national park areas. You will need to take note of the weather though as in the dry, it’s accessible by both 4x4 and all-wheel drives but in the wet it becomes 4x4 accessible only.
If getting your rig dirty is something you enjoy on your getaways, look no further than Watagans National Park. For more information check out the NSW National Park and Wildlife Service website.
Brisbane to Toowoomba (1.5 hours)
Sitting on the edge of the Great Dividing Range, Toowoomba is only 90 minutes from Brisbane but is the perfect spot for a weekend getaway. Known as the Garden City, there are over 150 parks and gardens in Toowoomba making them the perfect place to enjoy some locally made food and wine. If you’re looking to check out the town in spring, be sure not to miss the iconic Carnival of Flowers event. The longest running event of its kind in Australian, it’s a celebration of flowers, food, wine, and culture.
Being a bigger town there are many accommodation options in Toowoomba, from hotels to caravan parks and camping. If seclusion is what you’re after in the region, the Yarramalong Weir Reserve is an hour from Toowoomba and perfect for free camping. You will need to be completely self-sufficient when it comes to off-grid power, food and water but there are toilet and BBQ and camp kitchen facilities.
For more information on visiting Toowoomba and the surrounding region check out the Toowoomba Region website.
Perth to Nambung National Park (2 hours)
If you’re looking for a location to explore that’s a little off the beaten track, look no further than Nambung National Park. Travelling two hours north of Perth brings you to Nambung which is home to one of the most unique desert landscapes in Western Australia, the Pinnacles Desert. Named after the thousands of huge limestone pillars that rise from the desert sand, exploring the Pinnacles Desert feels like stepping into another world. These aren’t the only attraction of Nambung though, with plenty of beaches within the national park it’s perfect for swimming, snorkelling, boating, and surfing.
While there are no campsites in the Pinnacles Desert, within 30 minutes you’ll find both free camps and caravan parks. Tuart Reserve is perfect for free camping but if you’re looking for a few more facilities check out Nambung Station Stay and B&B or the RAC Cervantes Holiday Park.
To learn more about the Pinnacles Desert and Nambung National Park check out the Parks and Wildlife Service website.
Hobart to Cockle Creek (2 hours)
If you’re looking for a slightly chillier destination to check out on your next weekend getaway, look no further than Cockle Creek. Only two hours from Hobart it’s the southern most point you can drive in Australia – go any further south and you’ll reach Antarctica so pack some warm clothes. It’s a beautiful spot that many don’t get to explore. While swimming in these crisp waters isn’t something, we’d recommend to all, the bushwalking in the area definitely is. There are a number of walks of varying lengths in the area, and you might even catch a glimpse of migrating whales along the costal tracks.
With only a small town in the area, you will have to be prepared to free camp. This mean having a fully self-sufficient setup including food, water, and power. Only some of the campsites have basic pit toilets, so if that’s something you’re looking for choose wisely. If you’re looking to setup a 12V system but aren’t sure exactly what you need, check out our Weekend Escape Dual Battery Kit, it includes everything you need to power your home away from home.
For more information on Cockle Creek and things to do in the area check out the Discover Tasmania website.
Darwin to Wagait Beach (1.5 hours)
A hidden gem of the Northern Territory, Wagait Beach is a tropical paradise and local secret. Accessible either by 15-minute ferry or an hour and a half drive around the bay, Wagait Beach is perfect for that weekend beach getaway. It’s the idea spot to relax on the sand, cool off in the water or toss in a line and do some fishing. If you’ve got an eye for history, you can also take in some of the WWII landmarks that are still visible today, these include several plane wreckages and gun tower ruins.
Being so close to the city via ferry there are options to stay there but if you’re looking to stay right on the beach, free camping is the way to go. While you will need a fully self-contained setup, free camping is provided by the Wagait Beach Store Campground. If you’re looking to get into some free camping check out how to turn your vehicle into a 12V powerhouse.
For more information on Wagait Beach and things to do in the area check out the Northern Territory website.
So, there you have it, we hope we’ve inspired your next weekend escape. You don’t have to travel 500km to escape the city on your next adventure, some of the best destinations are within only a few hours drive. If you’re wanting to learn more about getting off grid and turning your car into the ultimate 12V machine, check out Jase Andrews’ video below.